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Montecito community continues to heal two years after deadly mudslide

Posted at 10:44 PM, Jan 09, 2020

A night of healing and remembrance in Montecito Thursday night, as the community came together for the two year anniversary of the deadly debris flow.

While two years have gone by, many survivors say they are still grieving.

"The loss of losing those young beautiful lives has changed us in so many ways. We experienced a loss we never knew, an emptiness that never goes away, there's no more snuggles, there's no more hugs, there's no more laughter in the halls of our home. We never knew would could hurt so much," said Carie Baker, a survivor who lost two children in the debris flow.

Some community members have only moved back into their homes in the past few months.

"We just moved back home in October. It's not finished but it's home - and that's what's so beautiful and amazing; Thanksgiving and Christmas has never been so profound," said debris flow survivor, Marco Farrell.

Thursday night was a reminder that there is no end date to the healing process.

"For some people here tonight, and including me - the process of healing has just begun. For others it will take years, for some it will take decades and for many of us the healing process will take a lifetime," said Abe Powell, Co-Founder of the Santa Barbara Brigade.

As people try to move on, a plea was made to make renewed connections to each other as time continues put the 1-9 debris flow further and further behind us.

"When you lose a loved one you just can't get over it, you have to live through it. When you're trying to live through it, it's a whole lot easier when there's people around you who are compassionate and caring and don't stop caring just because another year has gone by," Powell said.

"The community is starting to re-blossom again and redefine itself. It will be different but I think it will be a lot closer and a lot more profound than it ever has been," Farrell said.

If you or someone you know is still struggling with grief from the 1-9 debris flow, the county has several resources available at this website.